Histoplasmosis: An Unexpected Finding A Challenging Journey
Carrea s Story
Carrea was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 14 and has been on a biologic for 13 years. Recently, she struggled with an unexplained illness for over a month before things took a sudden turn for the worse:
I woke up one Sunday morning with a fever of 104.1°F. I couldnt really move, and I felt like it was a chore to even just lift my arm. I had a very bad migraine, and I knew something was wrong. I drove to the emergency room, and they sent me right back because my fever was so high. And they ran test after test after test. And everything came back negative. They did not know what was wrong at the time.
Watch Carreas interview with Dr Pappas and learn about her experience with disseminated histoplasmosis. Witness the inspiring story of how this experience led to her commitment to advocate for other patients with compromised immune systems.
Introduction to Faces of Fungal Infections series
Carreas Story: Histoplasmosis Diagnosis
Diagnosis and Management of Disseminated Histoplasmosis
> > > Best Toe Fungus Treatment Available
Topical Therapy What Is Good For Fungus Between The Toes?
Topical therapies are much safer, but also much less effective and sometimes quite expensive. Popular prescription topicals include Ciclopirox laquer , Carmol® 40 and Keralac® Nail Gel. Dont expect miracles from these medications, but they can help decrease discoloration and thickness, prevent progression and are a great adjunct therapy. What Is Good For Fungus Between The Toes?
Over The Counter and Home Remedies
1. Place an anti-fungal powder or spray in the shoes every other day.
2. Make sure you rotate your shoes often and keep them in a cool dry place. Use a shoe dryer in the winter if necessary.
3. Change your insoles frequently, and make sure they dry out between use. What Is Good For Fungus Between The Toes?
4. Try using an antiperspirant spray on your feet before your workout, if your feet sweat excessively.
5. Wash your shower mat regularly in hot water, or step out of the shower, onto a towel, which is washed after each use.
6. Bleach out the shower on a weekly basis. Bleach works better than antimicrobial cleaners.
7. Make sure your shoes fit well. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to jamming at the toes. Jamming at the toes leads to microtrauma at the nails and increases the chance for fungal infection.
What About Bleach Baths
Bleach baths are an approach dermatologists may recommend for treating skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and recurrent Staphylococcus infections on the skin. These involve mixing a very small amount of bleach in bath water typically a half cup of bleach to a full-sized bathtub of water.
While its true that bleach baths may temporarily kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses, the effects arent long-lasting and arent likely to treat an existing toenail fungal infection.
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How To Practise Good Foot Hygiene
Whether you decide to have treatment or not, you should still practise good foot hygiene to stop the infection getting worse or spreading to others.
- Keep your nails clean and trimmed. Avoid cutting the cuticles.
- If your fingernails are affected, avoid repeated hand washing and use of detergents and other chemicals. Wear protective gloves.
- If your toenails are affected, good foot care is important wash and dry your feet well, and check them regularly for cuts and rubs.
- Treat any other fungal infections such as athletes foot.
- Keep your feet cool and dry by wearing breathable footwear and cotton socks as fungal infections like warm and damp places.
- Wear clean socks every day.
- Avoid high heels and shoes with narrow, pointy toes that may injure your nails.
- When using shared showers, eg, at the swimming pool, wear protective footwear.
- If you need help from a podiatrist , your doctor will be able to refer you to one.
- Dont share nail clippers and scissors with others.
Home Remedies To Help Remove Or Stop Toenail Fungus From A Harrisburg Podiatrist
Toenail fungus is extremely unattractive and can make individuals feel self-conscious about their feet. If stopping into your local foot doctor is not a possibility, you are not entirely out of luck. There are five home remedies that work well above the rest as toenail fungus treatment options.
1. Use a Rub of Tea Tree Oil and Orange Oil
A mixture of 1 teaspoon tea tree oil, half a teaspoon of orange oil, and half a teaspoon of grapeseed or olive oil can be rubbed onto the toenails with a cotton ball to clear up toenail fungus. This treatment is not one your University Area podiatrist will provide so you will have to do this at home as part of your daily routine. The natural anti-bacterial and fungicidal properties of tea tree oil make it a very promising toenail fungus treatment option.
2. Rub Coconut Oil on Your Feet
Coconut oil is one of the most commonly used products for natural remedies. When it comes to foot fungus, this product works like magic. The fatty acids in coconut oil work as natural fungicides, causing the fungal membranes to break down and clear up. Use gloves to rub coconut oil to the infected toenail. You can even rub coconut oil over your entire foot to leave your skin soft and nourished. A thin layer applied 2 to 3 times a day works great as a toenail fungus treatment.
3. Soak Your Feet in Baking Soda and Vinegar
4. Olive Tree Extract
5. Oregano Oil
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Treatments For Fungal Nail Infections
Treatment isn’t always needed for a mild fungal nail infection because it’s unlikely to cause any further problems and you may feel it’s not worth treating.
Whether you decide to have treatment or not, you should still practise good foot hygiene to stop the infection getting worse or spreading to others.
Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you’re bothered by the appearance of the affected nail, or it’s causing problems such as pain and discomfort. They’ll probably recommend:
- antifungal tablets tablets taken once or twice a day for several months
- antifungal nail paints special paints applied directly to the nail over several months
- nail softening kits where a paste is used to soften infected parts of the nail, before they’re removed with a scraping device
A procedure to remove the nail completely may be recommended in severe cases. Laser treatment, where a high-energy laser is used to destroy the fungus, is also an option. But this is only available privately and can be expensive.
You can reduce your risk of developing a fungal nail infection by:
Nail salon equipment can sometimes be the source of fungal nail infections. If you regularly visit a salon, make sure any equipment used is properly sterilised between uses.
Sets With Creams And A Nail Scraper
Treatment sets that contain two creams and a nail scraper can also be used for the topical treatment of nail fungus:
- One cream has urea in it, which softens the nail so it can be removed.
- The other cream contains bifonazole, which has an antifungal effect.
For this treatment, the affected toe or finger first has to be soaked in warm water for ten minutes and then dried. After that, the urea-based cream is applied to the nail, and the nail is covered with an adhesive bandage. After 24 hours, the bandage is removed and the toe or finger is held in warm water again. The softened layer of the nail is then scraped off using a spatula, the cream is applied again and the nail is covered with a new bandage. This treatment is carried out over 14 days. Once the infected part of the nail has been scraped away completely, the skin beneath is treated for another four weeks with a bifonazole cream.
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How Are Fungal Nail Infections Treated
Fungal nail infections can be difficult to cure. The decision to treat usually depends only on how much it bothers you. If left untreated it probably wont go away, but it usually wont cause medical problems. Your doctor or pharmacist can talk to you about your treatment options. Treatment includes applying medication to the nail such as an antifungal paint or taking antifungal tablets or capsules. Points to consider are:
- Treatment with antifungals tablets or capsules is only successful for about 75% of people, and the use of antifungal paints is less effective. In other words, cure is not possible for 1 in 4 people, and even higher in elderly people.
- Even after successful treatment of the fungal infection, the nail may never look completely normal.
- There is a 1 in 4 chance that the fungal infection will come back.
- Treatment is often needed for several months. It can take up to 12 months to confirm successful treatment, due to the slow growth of the nail unit.
- Treatment is more likely to work with good hygiene practices.
If you are an older person, or you are taking multiple other medications, the risk of treatment may outweigh the benefit. The success of treatment reduces with age and recurrence is very common.
When Are The Different Treatments Considered
Most doctors recommend treating nail fungus with nail polish or cream if
- not much more than half of the nail is affected by the fungus,
- the base of the nail is not infected, and
- only some nails are affected.
Topical treatment is also usually recommended for children. One reason for this is that most oral medications arent suitable for children. Another reason is that children have thinner nails that grow more quickly, so its assumed that treatment with nail polish or creams is more likely to work in children than in adults. White superficial onychomycosis is also often treated with a nail polish or cream.
If several nails are infected by the fungus, or if the infection has spread out more on the affected nails, its usually necessary to take oral medication. And if the infection started at the base of the nail, its highly likely that only tablets will help.
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What Side Effects And Drug
The possible side effects of itraconazole include headaches, dizziness, stomach and bowel problems, and rashes. Itraconazole can also interact with a number of other drugs. These include cholesterol-reducing and blood-sugar-lowering medications, as well as certain sleeping pills. It is therefore important to let your doctor know about any medication you take. Itraconazole is not an option for people with heart failure . It also isnt suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Terbinafine can cause gastrointestinal problems and a temporary loss of taste and smell. It can also interact with certain antidepressants and heart medications. Overall, terbinafine has far fewer drug-drug interactions than itraconazole. Nevertheless, its still important to tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. As a precaution, this medication should not be taken during pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding.
The studies only rarely reported on how often the different side effects occurred. But most people tolerate nail fungus medications well. Only a few people in the studies stopped treatment because of side effects.
But there is a very small risk of liver damage from taking itraconazole or terbinafine. For this reason, people with a liver disease are only given these medications if its absolutely necessary.
How To Overcome Candida And Eliminate Nail Fungus
If you suspect that your nail fungus stems from an overgrowth of Candida in your system, dont worrythere are simple, natural nail fungus treatments that start with tackling Candida overgrowth and restoring optimal gut balance. In my Candida Breakthrough® Program, I use a proven, 3-step approach to help you beat Candida overgrowth.
Step one is to starve the yeast by eliminating the foods that feed it. This includes cutting all sugar and alcohol, and limiting carbohydrates such as fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes to no more than 1 cup a day. I also recommend adding plenty of coconut oil, garlic, ginger, and other foods that fight Candida to your diet.
Step two is to attack the yeast using supplements that destroy Candidas cell walls. I use Candifense®, a powerful blend of plant-based enzymes that break down the cell walls of Candida, and Caprylic Acid, a short-chain fatty acid derived from coconut that pokes holes in the yeast cell walls.
The last step in your anti-Candida natural nail fungus treatment is to repopulate your gut with the probiotics, or good bacteria, that usually keep the yeast in check. While combating Candida, I recommend a 100 Billion Probiotic, which contains 100 billion colony forming units of high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade bacteria. This will not only help restore your guts healthy balance but also help repair your gut lining so that the Candida can no longer escape and wreak havoc in other areas of your body.
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Potential Risks And Complications
If untreated, athletes foot can result in a bacterial infection if skin is broken. This can happen due to scratching or when blisters pop or ulcers become infected. Any type of infection can be very serious and requires prompt treatment.
Athletes foot is also very contagious. It can easily spread to your hands, especially if youre scratching at the affected area. This fungus can also infect the area under your nails, which can be more difficult to treat, or the groin area.
What Causes Fungal Nail Infections
A fungal nail infection occurs when a fungus infects a fingernail, toenail or the skin under the nail .
- You are more likely to get a fungal nail infection if your nail has been damaged through small cuts in the skin around your nail or through the opening between your nail and nail bed.
- You can get a fungal nail infection from sharing personal items such as nail clippers, or towels, walking barefoot in public showers or pools, or if you have athletes foot , where the fungus spreads from your skin to your nail.
- Smoking, having have certain other health conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis or peripheral arterial disease and taking medication that weaken your immune system can increase your risk of getting a fungal nail infection.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Fungal Nail Infection
A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first, but as the infection progresses you may notice the following symptoms:
- Change in colour of some or all of your nail turns yellow, white, blue, purple or black.
- Thickening and change in shape of the nail, making it difficult to trim.
- Pain or discomfort, particularly when using or placing pressure on the affected toe or finger.
- Brittle or crumbly nails pieces may break off and come away completely.
- The skin near the nail may itch, or crack.
How Do I Know If I Have A Fungal Nail Infection
Because other infections can affect the nail and mimic symptoms of a fungal nail infection, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to see a doctor. Theyll take a scraping of the nail and look under a microscope for signs of fungus.
In some cases, your doctor may send the sample to a lab for analysis and identification.
Over-the-counter products arent usually recommended to treat nail infections since they dont provide reliable results. Instead, your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication, such as:
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Concord Foot Doctor Explains How To Eliminate Toenail Fungus Naturally
Toenail fungus is a common yet frustrating problem. You can catch it from using a shared shower, walking barefoot at a public pool, or even getting a pedicure. It can grow quickly under your toenail and cause the nail to thicken and crumble.
If the toenail fungus is severe, you should visit your local foot doctor for treatment. However, you can also try a natural toenail fungus treatment to solve the issue without chemicals or medicines. Here are six of the best natural remedies:
1. White Vinegar
White vinegar other wise known as Acetic Acid can help eliminate fungus when diluted in lukewarm water. The acidity of vinegar creates an environment that most fungus find in hospital and may help eliminate a fungal toenail infection.
2. Listerine and White Vinegar
The thymol and menthol in Listerine evaporate quickly and cause dehydration of superficial fungus infecting a toe nail plate. Soak for 15-20 minutes 3-4 days per week.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a popular home remedy for many skin infections, including fungal infections. Dab a few drops of the oil onto your toenails twice a day, or mix a few drops of oil with some water and soak your entire foot.
4. Urea Paste
You can buy over-the-counter urea paste to dissolve the infected portion of the toenail. Then, use an over-the-counter antifungal cream to prevent infection in the area. Before you do this, though, you should consult your local foot doctor.
5. Pau Darco Tea
6. Vicks VapoRub
Toe Fungus Treatment Symptoms & Causes
There are two types of toe fungusthe type found on the skin and the type found on the nails. The type that occurs on the skin is commonly known as athletes foot. The type that occurs on the nails is medically known as onychomycosis, but is more commonly known as toenail fungus.
All toe fungus feeds on keratin. Keratin is a protein nutrient found in the cells of our skin and nails. The fungus begins to attack immediately and spreads quickly due to the breakdown of the keratin. The breakdown causes the skin to become scaly and flaky and the nails to become discolored and crumbly.
Fungal infections usually affect the top layer of skin, hair, or nails and are usually caused by a group of fungi calleddermatophytes. Fungi are plant organisms known as eukaryotes, which are related to yeast and mold.
Fungal infections are contagious and easily passed from person to person through physical contact, or by contact with an area that allows easy transmission of bacteria or fungi.
Studies show toenail fungus doesnt affect children and adolescents as often as it does adults, especially older adults. It is estimated that 50 percent of people will contract the condition at least once before the age of 70.
The initial stages of a fungal infection can last for years, giving the infection plenty of time to grow and spread.
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